Pac-12 M5: 03.13.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on March 13th, 2013


  1. Arizona head coach Sean Miller is excited about the Pac-12 Tournament changing venues from Los Angeles’ Staples Center to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas this year. After 11 years in downtown LA drawing less than stellar crowds, the Pac-12 has moved the location of its postseason tournament. Miller pointed out that Las Vegas isn’t necessarily a prime destination for sporting events, but with the first basketball games ever to be played at the MGM Grand, it should be quite a compelling four days starting tonight.
  2. Oregon had one of its better practices in a while Tuesday before taking off for Vegas and senior leader E.J. Singler noted that the unexpected weekend losses to Colorado and Utah are behind the Ducks. Dana Altman and his team have had time to take in the losses, and they know that they have a big weekend ahead of them. Oregon won’t play until Thursday as they are the #3 seed and have a first-round bye. They will take on the winner of the Washington-Washington State game, but Altman did not reveal if Dominic Artis, who has been slowly getting back into games after a foot injury, would start in that contest.
  3. Colorado also didn’t end its season on the brightest note by getting upset at home against Oregon State, but the Buffaloes will be able to make up for that right away as they draw the Beavers again later today in their first game in the Pac-12 Tournament. Colorado’s first team all-Pac-12 star, Spencer Dinwiddie, said that the Buffs’ loss on Senior Day wasn’t an emotional letdown, but rather just a lack of execution. In that loss, however, they were without Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Andre Roberson. The nation’s leading rebounder will be critical for Colorado to have available in Las Vegas and Tad Boyle expects him to be back and starting today.
  4. Lorenzo Romar says Washington‘s struggles this year fall on him. Romar expected his team to play better than it has this season, but the Huskies just never managed to do so. Injuries early in the year hurt Washington, and they never seemed to recover. Although Romar is taking the blame, the season isn’t over. His team squares off with its intrastate rival Washington State today in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament. With a win, the Huskies would then play Oregon, who they have already lost closely to twice this year. Stealing an automatic bid isn’t easy, but with the depth and shooting ability that Washington possesses, it isn’t out of the question. Plus, Romar’s teams have had a great recent history in this event.
  5. After Arizona State‘s late-season struggles, the Sun Devils understand what they have to do to make the NCAA Tournament: Win four games in four days. It’s not out of the question for the Sun Devils, as Colorado did it last year, but ASU isn’t using that team as motivation. Jahii Carson says his team is instead looking at the 2011 Connecticut team that won five games and five days in the Big East Tournament as inspiration. To start off a possible miraculous run, the Sun Devils will need to beat Stanford tonight. They’ll be looking to get revenge as they lost at home to Stanford earlier in the year and if want to have different results, Herb Sendek’s team  will need to better contain Dwight Powell, who had 22 points and 1o rebounds the last time these two teams played.
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Celebrating Colorado Seniors Sabatino Chen and Shane Harris-Tunks

Posted by PBaruh on March 9th, 2013

This week the Pac-12 microsite is celebrating many of the seniors around the league. Today: Colorado’s Sabatino Chen and Shane Harris-Tunks.

Sabatino Chen 

When Sabatino Chen transferred from Denver to Colorado, there was no excitement. He wasn’t Carlon Brown. He was the local kid down the road in Louisville who averaged a minuscule 2.5 points per game in his time there. But Chen transferred to Colorado at an opportune time as Tad Boyle created a new brand of basketball and was open to letting anyone who was willing to work hard play for him. Chen was at best, however, expected to be a role player for the Buffs.

Sabatino Chen has improved immensely in his senior year

Sabatino Chen has improved immensely in his senior year. (Daily Wildcat)

Chen averaged only nine minutes per game in his first season in Boulder, yet he brought everything that didn’t show up in the box score. He was the guy everyone hated if he wasn’t on your team. He was a defensive pest, tirelessly diving for loose balls. Offensively, he struggled. He’d cross over from right to left and try to get up a left-handed layup where it would seemingly always get blocked; or spin in the lane and throw up an out of control attempt. Nonetheless, Chen continued to work hard and prepared for his senior year.

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Pac-12 M5: 03.01.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on March 1st, 2013


  1. Abdul Gaddy has failed to meet expectations at Washington. Gaddy came out of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma after averaging more than 25 points per game there. He had a subpar freshman year but was improving in his sophomore campaign and appeared as if he was about to turn a corner when he tore his ACL midway through the season. In Gaddy’s first three seasons as a Husky, he averaged no more than eight points a game, but the senior has averaged 11 points and three rebounds per game, both career highs, this year. Ultimately, unless Gaddy can lead the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament by capturing a Pac-12 Tournament title, it’s likely his career at Washington will be viewed largely as a disappointment.
  2. Despite not having any previous head coaching experience, Bob Cantu might be in good position to stay at USC full time as the head coach after his interim year. Although athletic director Pat Haden has interviewed some other candidates, Cantu has certainly done a great job thus far for USC after taking over for Kevin O’Neill. A Pac-12 Tournament title would likely solidify Cantu as the guy at USC and that’s not entirely out of the question. Cantu has coached the Trojans to a one-point loss to Oregon, a win on the road against UCLA, and most recently to a home win against Arizona, showing that USC can play with the best in the conference. As Colorado proved last year, winning four games in four days isn’t impossible and USC might just be the team to accomplish that feat this year.
  3. UCLA beat Arizona State on Wednesday night, but Shabazz Muhammad suffered a sprained ankle in the victory. Muhammad said it was minor and that he should be fine, but the talented freshman is also dealing with pink eye. Neither problem is expected to keep Muhammad out of UCLA’s game against Arizona on Saturday. The Bruins are also dealing with an injury to Travis Wear as he missed his second straight game Wednesday because of a sprained foot. Head coach Ben Howland hopes to have Wear back for the Arizona game too, but he is still listed as day-to-day.
  4. After Arizona’s loss to USC on Wednesday, Oregon is now in prime position to win the Pac-12. With the Ducks’ win over Oregon State last night, they now just have to win their last two games to claim the crown because Oregon has already beaten UCLA to own the tiebreaker. Barring a loss next weekend at Colorado or Utah, Oregon could be heading to Vegas as the #1 seed and will continue to improve with Dominic Artis returning to full health.
  5. Sean Miller said Wednesday night’s defensive play against USC was the Wildcats’ worst performance of the year. Arizona allowed USC to shoot 58 percent in the first half and an even better 65 percent in the second half. The Trojans had five players who scored double figures and at one point the defense was so poor that Miller switched to a zone defense halfway through the second half. The claims at midseason that Arizona was overrated look on point right now. The Wildcats are just 3-5 against the top seven teams in the Pac-12 and are struggling on defense at a very the worst possible time of the year.
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Pac-12 M5: 02.28.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on February 28th, 2013


  1. Jordan Adams has been great offensively this season for UCLA, but he’s also unexpectedly taken on the role of defensive stopper for the Bruins. Adams has guarded top Pac-12 players Allen Crabbe, Mark Lyons, and C.J. Wilcox so far this year and has been relatively successful. Crabbe shot 16-of-37 with Adams guarding him for two games while Wilcox had 14 points on 15 shots and Lyons had 17 points on 16 shots. The freshman also leads the Bruins with 53 steals and has done a great job not letting his tough defensive assignments affect his offensive performance. Adams is the second leading scorer for the Bruins at 15.1 points per game and although he wasn’t the most notable player from UCLA’s highly regarded recruiting class, he’s certainly making his presence known in Westwood.
  2. With the postseason nearing, Sean Miller wanted Arizona to put forth a more consistent defensive effort after Saturday’s win over Washington State. The Wildcats let the Cougars cut a 22-point lead in half and were fouling too much rather than playing great defense. Miller noted the team’s positioning on the court was a major reason for the excessive fouling. His message wasn’t received, though, against USC last night. Arizona gave up 89 points in its loss to the Trojans, allowing them to shoot 61 percent from the field and 60 percent from beyond the arc. Miller said he wants his team to strive for more than just a Pac-12 regular season championship and will need better defensive efforts from his team to accomplish something greater, but as of right now, it doesn’t look as promising for Arizona.
  3. Dominic Artis plans to return tonight for Oregon’s game against Oregon State. The freshman won’t play a lot according to head coach Dana Altman, but he did say his playing time could increase during the game depending on how Artis feels. Artis has missed the past nine games and the Ducks certainly haven’t played their best during that period, going 5-4 in his absence. Prior to Artis’ injury, the Ducks hadn’t lost in the Pac-12 and were 18-2 overall with him in the starting lineup. Johnathan Loyd will still start tonight despite Artis’ return, but by the Pac-12 Tournament, he should be back in the starting lineup.
  4. Colorado is finally gaining some momentum on the road. After a 1-4 start away from home this year, the Buffs’ were riding a two-game winning streak away from the Coors Event Center heading into their match-up last night at Stanford. The Buffaloes extended that streak to three with their 65-63 win over the Cardinal. It’s been better defense and the play of Andre Roberson and Spencer Dinwiddie that has propelled the Buffaloes to their newfound successes on the road. Last year, Colorado limped into the Pac-12 Tournament by losing three out of its last four games. This year, however, seems different as the Buffs are winning on the road late in the season and have a very good chance to do the opposite of last year and win three out of their last four.
  5. Although nothing has seemed to go right for the Beavers this season, Roberto Nelson has provided some great play for Oregon State this season. In Pac-12 contests, Nelson is the team’s leading scorer with 18.6 points per game and he is the only Beaver to start every game this year. He’s also second in the conference with 134 free throws made. Nelson knows that his job is to score, but he also knows he needs to be a leader on this team. With the Civil War taking place tonight, Nelson will have a chance to become the 38th player to score 1,000 points in Oregon State history, and with the Beavers at 3-12 right now in the Pac-12, at least there’s something OSU fans can get excited about.
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Pac-12 M5: 02.27.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on February 27th, 2013


  1. The Pac-12 is having one of its best seasons in several years and with only two weeks to go, its two most prestigious programs — UCLA and Arizona — are squaring off to help determine the champion. Cal coach Mike Montgomery believes the common perception around the league is that if the Bruins and Wildcats struggle, the league is down, and if they have success, the league is up. His team is trying to change that mentality, however, as the Bears are playing the best basketball in the conference as of late. Cal is now projected to be in the NCAA Tournament and has risen more than any other team in most NCAA Tournament projections. Although UCLA and Arizona are always the expected conference teams to play deep into March, Cal’s recent run of play has them challenging that perception as well as the top of the conference.
  2. Oregon’s impact freshman Dominic Artis might play sooner than expected as he practiced without a boot on his foot for the first time in a month yesterday, and head coach Dana Altman plans for Artis to log some minutes against Oregon State on Thursday night. Artis’ minutes will be limited against the Beavers, but will gradually increase each game with the ultimate goal that the point guard is playing at full strength in the Pac-12 Tournament.
  3. Tad Boyle isn’t the only one who thinks he has the best defensive player in the country. Last week Boyle said that Andre Roberson was the best defensive player in the Pac-12 and the entire country, and this week Arizona head coach Sean Miller agreed. Miller noted that Roberson’s ability to guard more than one position and great players like Solomon Hill and Allen Crabbe shows how versatile and good he is at locking players up. Miller also mentioned that Roberson reminded him of Dennis Rodman in the sense that he can impact the game so much without scoring. Although Roberson isn’t the unquestioned best defensive player in the country, his numbers certainly back up his success. Roberson leads the nation in rebounding at 11.8 rebounds per game, paces the Pac-12 with 2.27 steals per game, and is seventh in the league with 1.42 blocks per game.
  4. As the regular season comes to a close in the Pac-12, there are certainly a few coaches on the hot seat. At this point, it’s not a foregone conclusion that any coach will be fired, but three in particular are dangerously close to getting relieved of their duties. Oregon State’s Craig Robinson, Washington State’s Ken Bone, and Stanford’s Johnny Dawkins all have had little success as the leaders of their programs. Robinson’s team stands at 3-12 in the Pac-12 and unless the Beavers win two out of their last three games, Oregon State will finish with the fewest wins in Robinson’s tenure in Corvallis. Ken Bone has struggled in Pullman, posting a 24-47 conference record since he has been at the helm. And although Johnny Dawkins hasn’t had any particularly bad seasons, he’s just not cutting it for a program with the history and resources of Stanford. A team that once made the NCAA Tournament 13 times in 14 years under Mike Montgomery is now poised to miss the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year. Meanwhile, Bay Area rival California (with Mike Montgomery heading the program) is close to clinching its fourth NCAA appearance in the last five seasons.
  5. At one point, USC had Solomon Hill, Lamont Jones, and Derrick Williams committed to play basketball in Los Angeles. Then Tim Floyd left and the downward spiral ensued. Thankfully, the Trojans will be reminded of one part of that colossal mistake after tonight when Solomon Hill and Arizona take on USC for the last time. Hill has been a terrific player his entire career in Tucson and will be starting his 78th consecutive game for the Wildcats. The multi-dimensional forward presents many problems for defenses as he can shoot from the outside as well as score down low. There will always be the thought of what could have been for Hill and the Trojans, but for now the senior will focus on beating USC one last time.
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Pac-12 M5: 02.26.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on February 26th, 2013


  1. With the chaos continuing in the Pac-12 and no team running away as the favorite, Arizona once again has another chance to control its fate and win a share of the crown. Three weeks ago, when Oregon lost to Stanford and Cal and Arizona swept the Washington schools, the Wildcats found themselves in a familiar position. They blew it then when they lost to the Bears, seemingly ending their chances at the time with Oregon and UCLA ahead of them in the standings. But now the Ducks and the Bruins have done the same, both losing to Cal in the past couple of weeks, setting up a three-way tie for first place. Despite the fact that Arizona owns no head-to-head tiebreakers as of now, a share of a conference title is still within reach.
  2. UCLA took another step toward its ultimate goal with a win over USC on Sunday. The most recent match-up between these two teams couldn’t have been more opposite as USC had defeated UCLA in overtime at Pauley Pavilion, but the Bruins made it apparent on Sunday that this game was going to be very different from the opening tip. UCLA raced out to a 17-4 lead, led by 19 points at half, and never let the Trojans sniff success in the second half. Although the Bruins still have a great shot to win the Pac-12, that isn’t what matters in Westwood. Yes, it’d be nice to have a Pac-12 championship, but it won’t matter if they don’t make some serious noise in the NCAA Tournament with Ben Howland’s job is on the line.
  3. The good news for Oregon is that they still are tied for first place in the Pac-12. The better news is the fact that star freshman Dominic Artis is close to returning from his foot injury and the Ducks only have one game this week, allowing him more time to recover. Even if Artis is unable to go on Thursday night against Oregon State, the Ducks should still be able to take care of the Beavers. And when Oregon travels to take on Colorado and Utah to close out the season on the road, Artis will likely be back, which will be crucial.
  4. Barring an unexpected Pac-12 Tournament championship, Larry Krystkowiak and Utah know the season is close to an end; as a result, the head coach is planning on extending his playing rotation for the final four games of the season. Standout players Jason Washburn and Jordan Loveridge will most likely see less time while freshman Dakarai Tucker is in line to get more minutes. Tucker had eight points in the each of the past two games against Arizona and Colorado and has put forth a strong defensive effort in practice and will be rewarded.
  5. After surprisingly winning seven of its past eight games in the Pac-12 with notable road wins over Arizona and Oregon, Cal is now another team in serious contention for the Pac-12 title, only one game out of first place. With two weeks left in conference play, there are still so many ways this race could pan out, but if Cal wants to finish at the top they’re going to need some help. As far as this week goes, the Bears need Arizona State and USC to beat UCLA and Arizona, respectively, and take care of their own business by beating Utah and Colorado in Berkeley. It won’t be easy though as Colorado needs every win it can get to secure a possible at-large bid, but if the Bears can get through this week unscathed, they’ll be one more step closer to an unexpected Pac-12 title.
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Pac-12 M5: 02.08.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on February 8th, 2013


  1. Despite playing very well on the road against Arizona Wednesday night, Stanford was not happy with what Johnny Dawkins considered a moral victory. The Cardinal fell short to the Wildcats 73-66, but for the majority of the game matched Arizona basket for basket and had a chance to win the game with down the stretch. Dwight Powell said Stanford let up defensively in the end and ultimately were finished after Solomon Hill nailed a three pointer to stretch the lead to four points with three minutes left to go in the game. Even though Stanford could not pull off the upset, they are starting to play up to the level they were expected to at the beginning of the season and proved they can play with anybody in the Pac-12 with their performance in Tucson.
  2. Arizona State’s Jonathan Gilling is out to show that he’s not just a shooter. Although it’s easy to label him that due to the fact that he is second in the Pac-12 making 2.4 three pointers per game, Gilling is providing much more than just shooting this season. After averaging a minuscule 1.8 rebounds as a freshman, Gilling is all the way up to 7.0 rebounds per game in his sophomore campaign. Many will credit Jahii Carson, Carrick Felix, and even Jordan Bachynski for the surprising success of Arizona State, but without Gilling’s overall play, the Sun Devils might not be where they are right now in the Pac-12 standings.
  3. After a slow start to their game against Stanford, Arizona’s Sean Miller is likely to make changes to his starting lineup in their next game against Cal. Miller knows his team isn’t going to be leading after the first media timeout every game, but he wants his players to be confident coming out of the gate. He mentioned someone who always brings the same energy no matter the score is senior Kevin Parrom. Nothing is certain, but if Miller does make a change to his starting lineup for their upcoming game against Cal, it’s likely the senior will be getting the starting nod.
  4. Dana Altman desperately wants his team to cut down on turnovers. With the Ducks getting swept in the Bay Area last week against Stanford and Cal, Altman has been stressing simple play in practice. In their games against Washington, Stanford and Cal, Oregon has committed 65 turnovers, which is more than their field goals made (64) and more than double the amount of assists (30). However, against Colorado, the Ducks only 12 committed turnovers, but lost for the third consecutive game. The Ducks no longer control their fate in the Pac-12 race with three conference losses and need Dominic Artis back as soon as possible.
  5. Oregon State is no longer alone in last place in the Pac-12 and Craig Robinson hopes with their 82-64 victory over Utah on Wednesday night, the Beavers can establish some momentum going into the second half of conference play. The Beavers scored 84 points, 10 more than they had scored in any other Pac-12 game this year, and played their best defensive game of the conference season as well. Although Robinson and Oregon State certainly have been disappointing this year at 2-8 and many have called for Robinson to be fired, there’s still hope. As the past week has proved, anything can happen in the Pac-12 and that could prove very beneficial for Oregon State.
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Pac-12 M5: 02.06.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on February 6th, 2013


  1. At least one UCLA site thinks that Ben Howland‘s time at UCLA is essentially over after this year. But if Dan Guerrero remains athletic director, there’s a slim chance he could stay around. If UCLA were to perform better than expected in the NCAA Tournament — such as a run to the Final Four — the idea is that Guerrero would be inclined keep Howland around. Additionally, Guerrero hasn’t fired Howland yet this year despite some ups and downs from the Bruins. UCLA had its early season struggles, of course, but they were able to turn it around for a little while at least. Now, though, the Bruins have reverted to playing poorly by losing three out of their last four games. If Guerrero is ultimately fired, then Howland would certainly also be replaced by the new athletic director. Whatever the case ends up being, barring a Pac-12 title and a deep NCAA Tournament run, this year could be the end of Ben Howland’s time as UCLA’s head coach.
  2. Shawn Kemp Jr.‘s play down low was a major factor for Washington in its win against Arizona State over the weekend. Aziz N’Diaye suffered an eye injury and was forced to go to the bench for stitches. In came Kemp with a jumper, a dunk, and some precise footwork in the post. The Husky reserve finished with 18 points and six rebounds, but more importantly, he finally looked comfortable for the first time since returning from his patella tendon injury. If Kemp can hit jump hooks in the post and continue to be a threat down low, it could open the floor up for Washington’s guards and propel the Huskies to a strong finish in the Pac-12.
  3. Despite an ejection from Saturday’s game against Washington State, Sean Miller won’t suspend Kevin Parrom. Parrom was dismissed in the middle of the first half for a punch to DaVonte Lacy in the face. Miller said that the officials made the right call in  tossing his player and that he was very disappointed in his senior’s behavior. Parrom is known for being a physical player, but in this case, he lost control and it didn’t benefit him. Ultimately, Miller was displeased with the incident but doesn’t see this as a recurring thing and knows that the Wildcats will need his 8.2 points per game going forward to charge at a league title in the ever-changing Pac-12.
  4. Although Herb Sendek kept his Arizona State team in the locker room later than normal after its weekend loss to Washington to let his team know that they just got out-worked, the Sun Devils’ success cannot be ignored. At the midpoint of conference play, Arizona State is 6-3, something that seemed unimaginable in the beginning of January especially after they were predicted to finish 11th in the league. However, the Sun Devils don’t want to settle for a better than expected finish. Their goal is to make the NCAA Tournament. In Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket projection, Arizona State was one of the last four teams in. But in order to continue their success and stay in the field of 68, the Sun Devils will need to protect their home floor with upcoming games against California and Stanford this week and play well on the road as they finish with five of their last seven away from home.
  5. Oregon’s star freshman Dominic Artis is close to returning from his foot injury. Artis has missed the last three games and his team is just 1-2 in those contests and have committed a dismal 65 turnovers. They lost last weekend to Cal and Stanford and have opened up a Pac-12 race that once heavily favored the Ducks. Oregon’s Johnathan Loyd, who has started in the absence of Artis, is also dealing with an injury and is practicing with a wrap around his hand. Dana Altman wasn’t ready to say that either of them would play Thursday against Colorado, and if neither can go, freshman Willie Moore would get the start.
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What We Learned This Week In The Pac-12

Posted by PBaruh on January 30th, 2013

Here are some takeaways from the week that was in the Pac-12.

Arizona State Isn’t Going Away

The Sun Devils were impressive once again in another week of Pac-12 action by going 2-0 and continuing to win games they weren’t expected to win. First, Arizona State beat USC 98-93 in overtime by holding off a valiant effort from the Trojans. Then, they picked up their biggest win of the season as they were victorious over UCLA. Yes, UCLA was coming off a huge win against Arizona itself and might not have been particularly excited to play the Sun Devils two days later. Even without the presence of Travis Wear, the Bruins still have a lot of talent but that didn’t stop Arizona State from dominating the entire game. The great play of Jahii Carson has obviously been key in Arizona State’s success, but Carrick Felix’s improvement has been important as well. Felix was named ESPN’s National Player of the Week for his 16-point, 1o-rebound effort against USC and his 23-point, 11-rebound effort against UCLA. He is also second on the team in scoring at 15.2 points per game and first in rebounding with 8.2 boards per contest. Without the maturity and improvement of Carrick Felix, the Sun Devils would not be where they are at right now.

Carrick Felix, Arizona State

Carrick Felix has been a big part of Arizona State’s recent success.

Felix and Carson have had the largest impacts, but Arizona State has also been helped out by the strong play of Jordan Bachnyski. The 7’2″ center has been phenomenal on defense in rejecting 4.3 shots per game and blocking 15.6 percent of the shots taken while he is on the floor. He’s also been great at limiting his fouls as he’s only picked up more than three fouls once in conference play thus far and has yet to foul out all season. And he had his most impressive performance of the year against UCLA, with 22 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks in the Sun Devils’ big win.

After two consecutive dismal years in the Pac-12 where Herb Sendek’s team only managed 22 total wins, they’ve finally turned it around. Jahii Carson has been incredible, and Carrick Felix and Jordan Bachnyski deserve a majority of the credit as well. Many thought Arizona State would prove that their strong record before conference play was due to an easy schedule, but the Sun Devils are proving their legitimacy with wins over Colorado and UCLA. Up next, Arizona State is on the road against Washington and Washington State. If they can sweep, Arizona State might no longer be on the bubble and could be looking at a great shot to make the NCAA Tournament and contend for a bye in the Pac-12 Tournament.

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Pac-12 M5: 01.25.13 Edition

Posted by PBaruh on January 25th, 2013


  1. UCLA had been waiting on Tony Parker to make an impact this season. Fellow freshmen Shabazz Muhammad, Jordan Adams, and Kyle Anderson have all done their part to help the Bruins this season, but Parker had largely struggled mightily to this point. At one point this year, Parker tweeted that he was ready to return to his home state of Georgia and intimated that everyone who told him UCLA was a bad fit was correct. Recently, things have been a little different for Parker as he says he’s fine in Westwood, but the Bruins have only just begun to take advantage of his physicality and presence inside, highlighted by a few decent minutes against Arizona last night. After the departures of Josh Smith and Anthony Stover earlier this season, UCLA has had to work with the Wear twins and Kyle Anderson to bolster its rebounding. Anderson has boarded surprisingly well for the Bruins, but the Wear twins have not improved their rebounding woes. Going forward, if the Bruins want to compete with the bigger teams around the country, they’ll need to have Parker provide the type of presence inside that he did against Arizona.
  2. Despite having the best record in the Pac-12, Matthew Knight Arena hasn’t had the same home court advantage that the Ducks hoped for this year. Oregon’s home court holds 12,346 people and the building had a good showing when the Ducks upset Arizona with 9,554 in attendance. On the other hand, on Wednesday a disappointing 6,946 showed up for the win over Washington State. It could be that the new arena doesn’t have the same feel as the venerable Mac Court; it could be that the fan base is spoiled because of the football team; or, it could be that the fans don’t know all the new faces on this Oregon team. Whatever the case, a team that has the record and talent of Oregon should be hauling in a lot more fans than they are now and eventually that could come back to hurt them.
  3. For the second straight game, Washington allowed its opponent to pick up its first conference win this season. The Huskies lost to Utah on Saturday and followed that up with a defeat on Oregon State Wednesday. The Huskies remain an unknown team in the Pac-12 — they responded to wins over Cal, Stanford, and Colorado with two terrible losses. Washington had extra motivation this week and had said they were out to get revenge on the Beavers for their loss in the Pac-12 Tournament last year, but that wasn’t the case at all; instead, UW allowed Oregon State to jump out to a 10-point lead only four minutes into the game. Ultimately, Lorenzo Romar’s team looks like the most inconsistent team in the Pac-12 and might be wildly up and down all season long.
  4. Oregon State‘s starters have been underperforming all season long and Craig Robinson is letting them know it. In practice, the bench, also known as the “White Team,” was beating the starters. Robinson responded with a simple message to his five: Prove that you deserve to start And that they did. In the second half of the Washington game, Roberto Nelson and Eric Moreland played so well that Robinson sat them for fewer than two minutes combined. Ahmad Starks and Joe Burton each showed they deserved to playing as they sat for less than three minutes. Ultimately, Robinson’s direct message proved to be a big factor in Oregon State’s big win and could have signaled a turning point in the season.
  5. A player at the size of 6’10” is not usually known for his sharp-shooting, but that’s not the case with Stanford’s John Gage. Gage doesn’t score much as he’s only averaging 5.o points per game this season, but he leads the Cardinal in shooting 44 percent from three and has excited his teammates according to Johnny Dawkins. Recently, Gage had a career high 14 points against Cal and continues to provide the Cardinal with some much needed three-point shooting off the bench. If Stanford purports to put a run together at the NCAA Tournament in what has so far been a disappointing campaign, the Cardinal will need Gage’s shooting off the bench.
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